Grown-up Fun: How to Find Cheap Child Care During the Holidays

Posted on 11/27/2013

There are presents to buy, cookies to bake and parties to attend. Wondering how in the heck you're supposed to get all of that done while simultaneously caring for your children this holiday season? And childcare is not cheap. A new report from ChildCare Aware says that in the last year the cost of child care increased up to eight times the rate of increases in family income. There are still ways to have some grown-up fun while not forking over tons of cash for a babysitter. Check out these sources for affordable childcare during the holidays.

If you pay for a gym membership perks like free evening child care may already be included. For example, YMCA locations around the country offer a once-a-month Parents Night Out for members. Parents can drop their children off without having to hit the weights. Kids are cared for by Y staff members while parents are permitted to do whatever they'd like.

Play Place or Amusement Center
Check with local bounce house facilities and amusement centers in your community. Many offer Parents Night Out events. At The Bounce House Amusement Center in Canton, Georgia parents can drop off potty-trained kids between 6-11pm. For just $5 kids play and have dinner while mom and dad have their own holiday fun.

Friend Swap
Another great option is to organize a babysitting swap with another mom or dad. Offer to care for their kiddos for free as long as they return the favor at some point during the holiday season.

Area churches also offer affordable child care periodically to give parents a much-needed break. In Knoxville, First Baptist Concord charges $10 for one child, $15 for two and $20 for three. The evening includes fun activities and dinner for every child.

In-Store Supervision
Sometimes shopping malls and retailers offer child care as a service for parents. They know that moms and dads are likely to spend more money if they aren't rushed or distracted by fussy children. At most IKEA locations potty trained kids enjoy an hour of free supervised play. Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, North Carolina charges $10 for the first hour and $5 for each additional hour. Check with your local mall to see if a similar service is available.

By Alison Storm

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